A Capsule Wardrobe

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Over the past 10 years I have flirted with various versions of a minimalist wardrobe.  There seem to be as many versions of how to tackle an over-abundance of clothes as there are people on the planet.

After looking into Project 333 some years ago, I decided that the best option for me was to continue to keep a streamlined, mix-n-match selection that I wear most of the year round.  This works for me because I am fortunate to live in a fairly temperate climate.

However, I have recently joined a Facebook group focused on capsule wardrobes.  Someone posted about creating a Spring capsule based on the principle enunciated in The Vivienne Files.

One of the things that bothers me about many of the pieces chosen in limited collections tend to be pale/soft/neutral colours which are definitely not my style.  It would not matter how many pieces I had to choose from, I would still not be able to find anything to wear!  For those who follow the principle of colour analysis, I am a ‘winter’ which means I can wear black and other strong, clear blue-based colours.  When I had this analysis done back in the early 80s it really just confirmed what I already knew and I very rarely deviate from my preferred palette.

Based on this knowledge and the selection in my wardrobe, I chose the following 16 pieces for my capsule for the next 3 months.

The suggested configuration was:

Neutral – 2 bottoms and 2 tops, 1 of which should be a cardigan or jacket.

Naturally, I chose black.

Shorts and jeans.

A cardigan and short sleeve top, both in cashmere/merino.

Choose another neutral with the same configuration of 2 tops and 2 bottoms.

I am not sure that red is a neutral but it is definitely a base colour in my wardrobe.

capri pants and shorts.

A long sleeve knit top and a ‘denim’ jacket.

The next suggested category is 4 more tops which obviously need to mix and match as well as meet the vagaries of the local weather.

The final 4 items are open to personal preference and any categories you feel need an extra.

As the weather warms up I will definitely need these white cropped pants.

15 White cropped pants

A couple of patterned tops to add interest.

And a dress.

16 Multi-colour dress

While I followed the guidelines as suggested, I also know that there are dozens of outfits that can be created with this selection because I regularly do it.  Almost all of these pieces are several years old and are well-established in my wardrobe.

I am not entirely convinced that these will cover a couple of short holidays and special events that fall in the next 3 months but they will definitely account for 95% of my day-to-day outfits.

I will do a follow-up post in the next few days about a couple of accessories and the shoes that I will add to this collection.

What I Wear – 6 Month Update

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It is now 6 months since I began tracking what I wear.  June signals the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere and we finally have some weather that can be regarded as appropriate for the season in our area.  Therefore, some of the clothes I wore in the past month are ones that had barely been touched since I began recording what I wear at the beginning of December.

I have had a net increase to my wardrobe as I added 4 new items and discarded 2.  One is not actually new, just new to the list.  I can’t believe that I completely forgot to list my turquoise cardigan.  Anyway, it is now on the list.

New additions:

The dress was actually bought in April but I had not added it to the tally since I was not sure that it would be a long-term addition.  I have now decided that I will keep it.  You can read more about it here.  The trousers are slim-fitting pull-on tailored trousers that will be the mainstay of my work wardrobe during the cooler months.  I like the fact that there are nor buttons, zips or other fastenings to spoil the line of tops worn with them.

Discarded:

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I have now worn 79 of the 93 pieces in my wardrobe.  I expect that there will be less than 5 unworn ones by the end of the month.

This is the selection that have yet to be worn during this experiment.  They are mostly winter clothes with the exception of the cocktail dress and the formal dress.

I will miss half of the southern hemisphere winter this year as we will be in the USA and Canada for the latter part of July and almost all of August.  By the time we return spring will be just around the corner and my small selection of winter clothes will not see the light of day for another 9 months.

What I have discovered is that I can probably streamline my wardrobe further to around 80 items to cover all weather and all occasions and activities.  I also know that it is dynamic – an ever-changing process as pieces are worn, discarded and updated.

Until next month………

What I Wear – 5 Month Update

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I have now completed 5 months of tracking what I wear.

When I tallied up the month and moved across to the new spreadsheet for a new month, I found a couple of interesting insights which I would like to share with you.

See if you can guess what these 7 items have in common?

Dark denim jeans
White 3/4 pants
Checked seersucker skirt

Pink tshirt
Old khaki shorts
Black 3/4 leggings
Old striped rugby top

They are the only pieces that I have worn 10 times or more over the past 5 months.

When I review the pieces that have had more wear it is easy to see why.  I have a small selection of clothes that I wear at home when working in the garden or cleaning, therefore, they end up on high rotation.  The jeans, pants and skirt are probably my favourite ‘bottoms’ and it is interesting that there are no tops in the frequently worn pieces which tells me that I have probably got too many – or at least, that I don’t need any more.

Of the 91 items I have in my wardrobe I have worn 75 of them since I began this project.  Many have been worn just once or twice.  Some of this is due to the weather now starting to become slightly cooler.  However, it is partly because I think I have chosen to wear some things just so that I could say I have worn them.  These are the ones which possibly will not make the cut for next summer.

In any given month I wear around 50% of the clothes in my wardrobe and most of those are only worn once or twice.

The weather is finally starting to become cooler and I am looking forward to wearing some of the clothes that have not seen the light of day since last winter.  More on that next month.

What I Wear – 4 Month Update

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I have now completed 4 months of recording what I wear each day.  I began this project on 1st December last year with express purpose of trying to understand how often I wore the clothes I had and whether they were truly the best selection I could have.  This has evolved a bit more to include a challenge to buy as little as possible in 2016.

I have removed another item from my wardrobe which has brought the total down to 91.  It was this long, lacy cardigan which I had bought from the recycle boutique and although I had worn it twice, I found that I consistently overlooked it when making my choices.

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Although it is a lovely Mela Purdie piece it is simply not me so off it went – back to the boutique where I am sure it will find a grateful owner.

We are beginning to see slight signs that summer will not go on forever, although rather than saying it is getting cooler it is probably more appropriate to describe the weather as “less hot”.

So, for the past month it has been more of the same – mostly summer dresses or shorts and tops.  There has not been a lot of scope for variation but that will come.

I have now worn 70 of the 91 items in my wardrobe.  The remaining 21 fall into 2 categories ‘Winter’ and ‘Special’.  The first includes jackets, coats, woollen cardigans and pullovers and long-sleeved tops.  The second is a lace cocktail-length dress which I wore to a wedding 3 years ago and would be my ‘go to’ outfit for any similar dressy occasions as well as 2 pairs of travel pants which are exactly that – lightweight trousers that zip off to shorts which are perfect for travel.  I do also sometimes wear them at home during the cooler months.

Therefore, I am pleased to say that I have worn everything that is appropriate to the weather during the last 4 months.  However, not all of it will necessarily make the cut to next summer.  Having a limited selection of clothes forced me to carefully appraise whether I felt an item was really perfect.  2 pieces that won’t make it are these camisole-style tops.

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They are past their best and I am not sure whether the necklines have stretched slightly or I am being a bit more discerning but I feel as though they sit a bit low for my liking.  I will buy some more of a similar style but will take the time to look around and find something that is ‘perfect’.

That is it until next month.

 

What I Wear – First 2 Weeks

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It is almost 2 weeks since I began my latest project of keeping track of what I wear.  The purpose of this exercise is to identify what (if any) clothes just hang in my wardrobe without being worn.  I don’t think there are any that fall into this category but I want to prove that to myself.

Since I began recording what I wear each day (via Instagram), I have worn 4 different dresses, 2 skirts, 4 tops and 5 pairs of shorts/trousers.

The weather has been quite changeable so the jeans and 3/4 sleeve top from last Friday were set aside when the weather became quite hot during the week but today has been cool and wet so I was back in the jeans and top.  In fact, tonight I have even dragged out my polar fleece jacket which has not been worn for several months.  Conversely, the shorts and top from last Sunday were worn again yesterday when it was 34C.

I have one more week at work before 2 weeks of holidays so it may well be the New Year before I repeat any of the outfits I have worn to work so far.

This is one of the dresses I have yet to wear this month.

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My next challenge will be working out what I need to pack for 6 days in Melbourne over Christmas.  I will leave my final decision until the day before we travel so I have a better idea of what the weather is likel to be while we are there.

I am working from the rather slow laptop as we have some issues with the desktop computer so posts may be somewhat intermittent until we get that sorted out.